Warplanes Strike Syrian Town Hit by Chemical Attack - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Warplanes Strike Syrian Town Hit by Chemical Attack

The chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday triggered a U.S. missile attack two days later

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    A man who lost his wife, two children and other relatives in the suspected chemical attack in Idlib, Syria, wept while visiting their graves on Wednesday. (Published Wednesday, April 5, 2017)

    Warplanes on Saturday struck the Syrian town where a chemical attack had killed scores of people earlier this week, as Turkey warned that a retaliatory U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base would only be "cosmetic" if greater efforts are not made to remove President Bashar Assad from power.

    The airstrikes on the opposition-held northern town of Khan Sheikhoun, where 87 people were killed in the chemical attack earlier this week, killed a woman and wounded her son, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees, an activist collective.

    Elsewhere in Syria, U.S.-led airstrikes killed at least 21 people, including a woman and her six children who were fleeing on a boat across the Euphrates River near the Islamic State group's self-styled capital, Raqqa, the target of a major offensive by U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian forces, activists said.

    Near the central city of Homs, a bomb exploded aboard a bus carrying workers, killing a woman and wounding more than 20, according to state TV and the Observatory.

    Trump: Syria Attack Is ‘Terrible Affront to Humanity’

    [NATL] Syria Chemical Attack Is ‘Terrible Affront to Humanity’: Trump

    President Trump met with King Abdullah, the Jordinian leader, at the Oval Office on April 5, one day after an apparent chemical weapons attack in Syria that left dozens of people, incuding many children, dead. During a photo op, Trump commented on the attack, calling it an affront to humanity. The same day, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley criticized Russia for the fact that chemical weapons were even in Syria.

    (Published Wednesday, April 5, 2017)

    The chemical attack prompted the U.S. to launch nearly 60 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian air base early Friday, which killed nine people and marked the first time Washington has directly targeted Syrian government forces since the war began in 2011.

    The move was welcomed by the Syrian opposition and its main backers, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but harshly condemned by Russia and Iran, who back Assad and said striking his forces would complicate the struggle against extremist groups.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the U.S. strike should be the start of a renewed effort to end the civil war, which has killed an estimated 400,000 people and displaced half of Syria's population.

    "If this intervention is limited only to an air base, if it does not continue and if we don't remove the regime from heading Syria, then this would remain a cosmetic intervention," he said.

    He said the best outcome would be a peace agreement that leads to a transitional government accepted by all Syrians, followed by elections in which all Syrians, including those living abroad, could vote for new leadership. For that to happen, he said, "this oppressive Assad needs to go."

    Iran, which has provided crucial military and political support to Assad, meanwhile called for a fact-finding mission to determine what caused the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun. State television quoted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as saying the committee should be impartial and "must not be headed by Americans."

    Haley Has Harsh Words For Russia on Syria Chemical Attack

    [NATL] 'Russia Cannot Escape Responsibility': Haley on Syria Chemical Attack

    U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley heads the U.N. in April, as the rotating position of president falls to the United States. The April 5 meeting comes after what strongly appears to be a deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria. 

    While staunch ally Russia defended the regime of Bashar Assad, Haley directed stinging criticism at Russia. “If Russia had been fulfilling its responsibly, there would not even be any chemical weapons left for the Syrian regime to use," she said.

    (Published Wednesday, April 5, 2017)

    Rouhani said "neutral countries should come and assess to make it clear where the chemical weapons came from."

    Syria's government has denied carrying out any chemical attack, and Russia's Defense Ministry said the toxic agents were released when a Syrian airstrike hit a rebel chemical weapons arsenal and munitions factory.

    British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson canceled a planned trip to Russia because of fast-moving events in Syria. Johnson said the situation in Syria has changed "fundamentally" following the chemical attack and the U.S. response.

    Johnson condemned Russia's continued defense of Assad "even after the chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians."

    He had planned to travel to Russia Monday on a trip intended to start a fresh dialogue with Moscow.

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meanwhile plans to meet with G-7 foreign ministers in Europe next week before going on to Moscow. Johnson said Tillerson will be able to give a "clear and coordinated message to the Russians."

    UN Resolution Seeks Syrian Information on Attack

    [NATL] UN Resolution Seeks Syrian Information on Attack

    A proposed UN Security Council resolution would condemn the use of chemical weapons in Syria and stress the government’s obligation to provide information about air operations on Tuesday when a suspected chemical attack killed dozens of people.

    (Published Wednesday, April 5, 2017)

    In Damascus, dozens of Syrian students gathered outside the offices of the United Nations to protest the U.S. missile attack.

    The protesters in the capital held banners and chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."

    One of the banners they carried read: "The Iraqi scenario will not be repeated in Syria." They were referring to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq after Washington said Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction — a belief that later turned out to be incorrect.

    University student Ashraf Fadel said he came to denounce "the unjust American aggression against Syria." He added that the United Nations was "created to support America instead of serving the wronged people."

    Elsewhere in Syria, activists opposed to the Islamic State group said a U.S.-led coalition airstrike hit a boat carrying civilians fleeing across the Euphrates River. The groups Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently and Sound and Picture said the attack killed a woman and her six children. The attack occurred in the Shuaib al-Zeker area, near where U.S.-backed Syrian fighters have been on the offensive against IS under the cover of coalition airstrikes.

    Activists and state media said a separate airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition on the northern IS-held village of Hneida killed at least 14 civilians, including children. The Observatory said 15 people, including four children, were killed in the airstrike. The Sound and Picture group said the airstrike hit an internet cafe, killing 14 people.

    Syrian Children Die in Suspected Gas Attack

    [NATL] Syrian Children Die in Suspected Gas Attack

    Children who survived a deadly suspected gas attack in Syria's northern Idlib province were hooked up to ventilators as they recovered on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. A top Syrian military official denied government responsibility for the attack, which was carried out around the same time as other airstrikes in the area. 

    (Published Tuesday, April 4, 2017)

    In Saudi Arabia, the official Saudi Press Agency reported that U.S. President Donald Trump has spoken by telephone with King Salman about the U.S. missile strike on Syria.

    The news agency reported that during the Friday phone call, the Saudi monarch congratulated Trump for his "courageous decision."

    Saudi Arabia said the missile launch was the right response to "the crimes of this regime to its people in light of the failure of the international community to stop it."

    The kingdom is among the most vehement opponents of Assad and supports Sunni rebel groups fighting to oust him. The Sunni rulers of Saudi Arabia are in a power struggle for regional dominance with Iran's Shiite government.

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    Associated Press writers Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul and Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria contributed to this report.